We all know the first half of the SDSU Aztecs opening football game against New Mexico State wasn’t pretty. Picking a standout individual player from that first half was looking like a big challenge. But the team did come alive in the second half. In large part to our very first ever honorary Sons of Montezuma ‘Warrior of the Week’, Greg Bell.
Bell, is mourning the loss of local Mira Mesa high school football coach and mentor, Chris Thompson. Coach Thompson passed away from complications from Covid, and Bell certainly made his former Bonita High School coach proud with a career high 161 rushing yards on 21 carries. You can listen to the Sons of Montezuma Podcast with our one-on-one interview with Aztecs RB Greg Bell, where he detailed his thankfulness towards his former high school coach Chris Thompson, here.
Bell was the catalyst in the Aztec victory, breaking through holes provided by the offensive line and scoring a touchdown early in the third quarter. That score put the Aztecs on the board for the first time of the evening. The Aztecs and Bell never looked back. The victory was a team effort with a defense that didn’t allow any second half points and created three turnovers that led to three touchdowns.
If you were there in the stadium that night, you definitely noticed many of our official Greg Bell jersey t-shirts scattered around the sections. It was a great time and an honor that many of our Sons of Montezuma crew were able to meet Greg’s family there at the game on such a career night for the young Aztecs running back!
Honorable mention for the Warrior of the Week goes to special teams kicker and punter, Matt Araiza. Araiza, like Bell, came from a local high school, and was instrumental in the Aztec victory. Araiza, a junior whose playing career began as a soccer player at Rancho Bernardo High School, put New Mexico State in a tough spot with his 77-yard punt, which ranks fifth on SDSU’s all time longest punt list. Araiza’s punting average of 56.8 yards gave the defense room to work and helped the Aztec’s field position, which was paramount to the victory.
Wherever the Sons of Montezuma go, action is sure to follow. So in the final moments of the game at Dignity Health Sports Park Stadium, one member of our Sons of Montezuma crew was showering Matt with cheers from our 50 yard line field seats behind the Aztecs bench. Cheers calling out that, ‘that kid is NFL ready!‘ Well, soon after the final second ticked off the clock, a man came over with a huge grin on his face and let our guy know, that kid he was calling out to was non other than his son. What a great first game of the season for the Araiza family to be proud of their son.
Congratulations to both players for an excellent game!